Ewingsdale Seniors Housing Proposal
The proposal does not comply with the following Policies and/or Strategies. These are in no particular order. However, the Department of Planning that will finally approve/disapprove the proposal has to be satisfied that (a) the proposal complies with all the following policies/strategies, or (b) any non-compliance is satisfactorily explained/justified.
Northern Rivers Farmland Protection Project
This Project prepared by a collaborative of the Department of Agriculture (or whatever they are called now), Southern Cross University and local Councils aims to preserve farmland from urban development and it classifies land into a number of categories ie State Significant, Regionally Significant and ‘other’.
The project identifies the land the land as Regionally Significant Farmland and thus cannot be rezoned without justification
Far North Coast Regional Strategy
This Strategy was prepared by the State Government and applies to the Northern Rivers. Relevant extracts from the Strategy are as follows:
Page 10 The Regional Strategy identifies a ‘Coastal Area’ that generally comprises land east of the Pacific Highway alignment 2006 and the urban areas of Tweed Heads
The Regional Strategy will reduce the proportion of additional dwellings in the Coastal Area to 60% by limiting future development to within the mapped Town and Village Growth Boundaries.
Page 20 Future development proposals are compatible with the underlying heritage values of the location.
Page 4 Areas of high environmental and landscape value such as Mount Warning and its caldera and the Coastal Area (which covers land east of the Pacific Highway and the urban areas, coastal estuary and lakes of Tweed Heads) as well as key natural resources will be protected for future generations.
Page 5 Protection of productive farmland from development pressures is one such natural resource imperative. It is critical to keep farmland intact in suitable locations to ensure a viable agriculture industry for the future
Page 5 improve understanding of Aboriginal and European cultural heritage values and the incorporation of this information within land use planning and natural resource management processes
Page 6 ensure that new development reflects and enhances the character of the settlement in which it is located and is based on best practice urban design principles.
Byron Rural Settlement Strategy 1998
Prepared by Byron Shire Council and it deferred some land at Ewingsdale from consideration for rural residential development, pending assessment of urban potential in the Small Towns and Villages Settlement Strategies. That assessment has been completed, with the conclusion that the deferred land (ie Ewingsdale area) is not suitable for urban densities. The deferred lands will therefore revert to the Rural Settlement Strategy, although inclusion is not automatic.
Byron Bay Suffolk Park Settlement Strategy
Also prepared by Byron Shire Council. It examined the areas that were deferred by the Byron Rural Settlement Strategy 1998 (above). The area in which the proposed development is located is known as Area 3.
The Strategy’s Executive Summary (Page vii) says Part of Area 3 been subdivided as a rural residential area.
The Local Environmental Study indicates that a range of residential densities are possible in Area 3. However the traffic study shows that higher density options are not appropriate in the short to medium term given the current traffic problems along Ewingsdale Road and in entering Byron Bay. Public opinion, expressed through the Consultative Committee and in submissions to the drafts of this Settlement Strategy, is strongly resistant to urban densities at Ewingsdale.
The remainder of Area 3 has some potential for rural residential development, but this needs to be verified through a review of the Byron Rural Settlement Strategy. In the interim these lands should be rezoned to reflect their agricultural attributes.
Page 26 The traffic study, in particular, shows that village and urban densities in Area 3 require substantial improvements to Ewingsdale Road and other elements of the road network in and around Byron Bay.
Page 51 Outcome 41 Rezone unsubdivided 1(c2)(Small Holdings Zone) and 1(d)(Investigation Zone) land to an appropriate rural zone, pending a structural review of the Byron Rural Settlement Strategy. Environmental protection zoning of remnant significant vegetation.
(Comment: The review of the Byron Rural Settlement Strategy has not happened as yet and thus the land cannot be rezoned and must remain as rural as per Outcome 41 above)
Byron Shire Council Positive Ageing Strategy 2012-2016
Page 24 5.4.1 Age-friendly communities are communities designed to provide inclusive and accessible services. Well-designed communities include easy access to buildings, safe recreation spaces where signage and directions are clearly visible and good transportation options.
Page 25 5.4.2 As indicated during the community consultation processes, the lack of public transport and the reliance on vehicles is a problem. Due to age-specific tests, licensing can become an issue and restrictions are common – either preventing older persons from driving or limiting their range of driving(eg. 20 km radius).
Council Aims to Increase older residents access to affordable, safe and effective transport to maintain their mobility and participation in community life
Key Focus Area 4 Page 43 Vision: A community where people can easily and safely move around using public walkways or through personal, community and public transport options.
Byron Council Affordable Housing Options Paper
Page 5 Importantly, our research (the research by the consultants who did the study for Council) indicates that by 2031:
Around 80% of net increase in demand will be from 1 and 2 person households, the vast majority of which will be older households needing a mix of dwelling types including smaller, more manageable dwellings. It is strongly preferred that these be well located in terms of shops, transport and services, and be supplied within or adjoining the major urban centres.
Page 10 Strategy 1.1 It is recommended that Council confirm its commitment to sustainable development, socially, environmentally and economically, including to supporting social diversity through actively seeking to increase housing choice in well-located areas close to transport, services and retail opportunities.
State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing for Seniors)
This policy applies to the entire State of NSW and overrides Council’s Policies.
Chapter 3 Development for seniors housing
This Chapter allows development [for Seniors housing even if Council’s policies and/or zoning prohibit it] if the development is carried out in accordance with this Policy:
(a) development on land zoned primarily for urban purposes for the purpose of any form of seniors housing, and
(b) development on land that adjoins land zoned primarily for urban purposes for the purpose of any form of seniors housing consisting of a hostel, a residential care facility or serviced self-care housing.
(Comment: The land is not and does not adjoin land that is zoned for urban purposes and thus the proposal is not permitted by this Policy. Therefore the developers have to do a rezoning that is not in accord with the Strategies and/or Policies as stated above).
What is an Alternative?
All of the land in the Ewingsdale rural residential area is zoned R5 with a minimum subdivision size of 8,000m2.
The land that is the subject of the rezoning is about 14.5ha in area. With a minimum lot size of 8,000m2 the land could be developed for up to 18 lots but with roads etc that will probably be reduced to 12 or 14 lots.